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A Sand County Almanac at 75: the evolution of the land ethic

A lot changes in 75 years. In 1949, when Oxford University Press published Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac with “The Land Ethic” included, there were about 2.5 billion people alive on Earth. The atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration was just over 310 parts per million. The average global temperature was 0.6 degrees Celsius below the average for the twentieth century.

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How do you solve a problem like gender inequality?

How do you solve a problem like gender inequality? For most women’s rights advocates, the answer is obvious: adopt a human rights framework. At the global level this means using the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). While CEDAW has been subject to many critiques there is a reason that CEDAW is specifically cited as a justification for progressive new laws around the world.

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The Alexander Mosaic: Greek history and Roman memories

Perhaps the finest representation of battle to survive from antiquity, the Alexander Mosaic conveys all the confusion and violence of ancient warfare. It also exemplifies how elite patrons across diverse artistic cultures commission artworks that draw inspiration from and celebrate past and present events important to the community.

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Walter W. Skeat and the Oxford English Dictionary

For many years, I have been trying to talk an old friend of mine into writing a popular book on Skeat. A book about such a colorful individual, I kept repeating, would sell like hotcakes. But he never wrote it. Neither will I (much to my regret), but there is no reason why I should not devote another short essay to Skeat. In 2016, Oxford University Press published Peter Gilliver’s book The Making of the Oxford English Dictionary, a work of incredible erudition.

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Forgotten books and postwar Jewish identity

In recent years, Americans have reckoned with a rise in antisemitism. Since the 2016 presidential election, antisemitism exploded online and entered the mainstream of American politics, with the 2018 shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue marking the deadliest attack on American Jews.

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The rising power paradigm and India’s 2024 general elections

India, the world’s largest democracy, is holding its national elections over a six-week period starting 19 April. The elections to the 543-member lower house of the parliament (Lok Sabha) with an electorate, numbering 968 million eligible voters, assumes critical importance as India is going through both internal and external changes that are heavily linked to its rising power aspirations and achievements.

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Do American family names make sense?

Do names really mean anything, even when they seem to? Individuals in present day America called Smith, Jackson, Washington, or Redhead are not usually smiths, sons of Jack, residents in Washington, or red-haired.

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From “frog” to “toad”

I did not intend to write an essay about toad, because a detailed entry on this word can be found in An Analytical Dictionary of English Etymology (2008), but a letter came from our correspondent wondering whether the etymology of toad is comparable with that of frog (the subject of the previous two posts), and the most recent comment also deals with both creatures.

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Understanding the EU’s Law Enforcement Directive

If you ask an average European if they may request Google or Facebook to delete their data, they are likely to refer to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). They are also likely to turn to a Data Protection Authority (DPA) or even directly to the domestic courts for that matter.

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Society was to blame for the letters, not twisted psychologies

In complex ways, social inequalities create the conditions for people to feel that writing anonymously might be useful for them. On top of this, social crises create anxious contexts, when the receipt of a threatening, obscene, or libellous anonymous letter might seem especially hazardous.

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Jonah and genre [long read]

Reading a piece of writing—from instruction manual, to sports page, to Op-Ed piece—according to its genre is something we do so naturally that it seems odd to even talk about it. Indeed, the very phrase “reading according to genre” sounds odd itself, entirely too formal, perhaps suitable for some English or Comparative Literature class, but hardly something that normal people do when reading normal things on an everyday basis.

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Philosophers don’t often write about the heart

The Heart and Its Attitudes illuminates interpersonal phenomena that are as local and commonplace as heartfelt connections and their rupture between friends and lovers, on the one hand, or as nationally or internationally significant as the emotional injuries of racial and gender oppression and war, on the other.  It is a work of philosophy that aims for rigor and analytical depth, but one that is unusual in its relevance to so much of ordinary life.

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some type of way book cover

Pay attention to your children

You’ve probably been ignoring your children. This isn’t simply you not paying attention to them because you’re distracted or need to do something.

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